Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer was in a good spirits during his Monday press gathering with the Columbus beat media, and that carried through today and his appearance on his weekly call-in show on 97.1 The Fan.
Whether it was his quick answer to his favorite road venue (none of them), his equally quick reaction to being asked if OSU needs to recruit Percy Harvin-like players, (“Oooh, careful when you use that name”), or his calling backup quarterback Kenny Guiton the team’s “righthander out of the bullpen,” it was clear that Meyer is still enjoying the afterglow of a 63-38 win over Nebraska.
But the high point of comedy actually came from a caller today, who honestly asked if a loss to Indiana would jeopardize OSU’s undefeated season.
The two subjects that came up again and again today were Ohio State’s lack of depth at linebacker and the difficulty of determining what the workload in practice should be this time of year.
- Meyer confirmed that CJ Barnett will return this week to play safety. That means Orhian Johnson can play the star when the Buckeyes are in a nickel defense.
- The fact that OSU will be in nickel will help take the pressure off Joshua Perry, who’s stepping in for the injured Etienne Sabino. (Ryan Shazier and Storm Klein will be the linebackers who remain on the field when the Buckeyes bring in an extra defensive back.) Perry is very talented, Meyer assured listeners today, but he’s not used to seeing the game played at the speed it will be Saturday night.
- Speaking of which, Meyer says that to prepare for Indiana’s up-tempo offense, he had his defensive players facing 10 plays a minute in practice this week. That’s right, a new play every 6 seconds.
- Meyer acknowledged that the Silver Bullets haven’t had the most success this season against offenses like the one that the Hoosiers run. He also pointed out the Buckeye offense hasn’t always been able to stop the corner blitz, and that’s something else the Hoosiers do.
- Meyer indicated that he’d like to play Guiton in the first half of this week’s game, because there are some plays that the quarterback runs really well. He said that the Buckeyes will also try to use Carlos Hyde in the wildcat formation this week as well.
And one note I’d like to add. There’s been a lot of talk about the OSU “pirahanas” and the job they’ve done on kick coverage this week. Well, kudos to Drew Basil, who not only has five tackles on the year, but also places his kicks and gives them the hang time the pirahanas need to get the job done.